March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.[more inside]
Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.
About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
When Australian prime minister Tony Abbott paused on the lawn of Parliament House to engage a group of high school students in conversation, he may have been hoping to impress some future voters. However, the questions fired at him by the 14-year-olds - about asylum seekers, gay marriage and why he has appointed himself Minister for Women - seemed to take him aback (warning: camera is level with Abbott's crotch.) The students involved later participated in the March in March – a series of protests against current government policies which took place in 29 locations across Australia over three days. Despite over 100,000 turning out, the protests was little coverage by mainstream media – leading to criticism even from within the media’s own ranks.
Australian Federal Election time is heading into high gear now that the official list of candidates has been finalised—and it is a long one! With a record number of candidates in the 2013 election, it can be awfully tempting to just vote above the line for the Senate, especially as many believe that voting below the line means wasting your vote. Thankfully, Dennis the Election Koala is here to explain why you can't waste your vote. (It also makes a good intro to preferential voting for those still mystified by it.) [more inside]
"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever. The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation." - The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, takes the Leader of the Opposition to task over his sexist views (link includes extracts and video of full fifteen minute speech) [more inside]
Senator John Faulkner has just delivered the 2011 Wran Lecture, where he damned the party machinations and career motivations that hinder community engagement in Australian politics. Senator Faulkner represents the honest, the old-school and the fiercely idealistic face of the Australian Labor Party. In his 2011 Wran Lecture, Falkner challenges his own party to respond to the decline in political party memberships and the rise of non-partisan community groups such as GetUp!, by engaging communities in politics and respecting the contributions of grassroots activists. This comes after the recent publication of the 2010 review conducted by Faulkner, Steve Bracks (former Victorian State Premier), and Bob Carr (former NSW State Premier): a roadmap to reforming Labor. Responses to the Wran Lecture are, predictably, mixed. (Incidentally, Faulkner has a bit of a fan-club thanks to his determination to retain his preferred choice of eye-wear throughout the decades.)
"Despite promises that the 43rd Parliament would be kindlier and gentler, it has been characterised by vitriol in question time, a Prime Minister labelled a liar - and outside Parliament, a bitch - and an Opposition Leader called an extremist. Both sides complain the other is mean." [So much for kinder, gentler politics]
The Soapbox is a collection of photographs, texts of speeches, transcripts of debates and political ads from Australian election campaigns (both State and Federal) from 1901 to the present day. More materials will be added when they become available.
And we're off! Prime Minister John Howard has set the date for the Australian Federal election as November 24th, meaning we're up for a long six-week campaign. With Kevin Rudd leading the PM by between 16 to 18 points (depending on who you read) in recent opinion polls, this election seems the most likely to provide a change of Government since Howard was first elected 11 years ago. Antony Green's usual excellent election guide is up and running here, along with an excellent calculator which shows which seats are up for grabs dependent on a 2 party preferred swing. You might also want to check out the Vote-O-Matic, a fun but entirely disposable quiz which aims to help you decide who you'll vote for. [more inside]
People vandalising Wikipedia is hardly a new thing but now even the office of the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, is getting into the act. Website Wiki-Scanner (previously) has traced several edits to Wikipedia articles by the Prime Ministers staff, according to Australian newspaper The Courier Mail. And they aren't confined solely to the Wikipedia entry on the PM himself; there was even an act of vandalism on a martial-arts related entry, in which one of Howard's ministerial staffers wrote, “Poo bum dicky wee wee” on the page. Not good news on the eve of a federal election that the PM is largely expected to lose. Meanwhile, 'new media' is being put to good use at Opposition leader Kevin Rudd's website, Kevin07, where a recent blog entry compiles Youtube's 'best' political videos. Hours of fun for the whole family!
Cabinet: The Movie. Starring Australian PM John Howard and a bunch of chickens. [more inside]
AustralianPoliticsFilter: Congressman John "Orleans" Hall has nothing on Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett, who quit singing political rock to start rocking politics, was elected to the Aussie Parliament in '04 and has now been named the Labor Party's "Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation and the Arts" (whew, what a title). But it's not all "Blue Sky (His)": he's been attacked by a former environmental activist ally in the Green Party and mimicked by Treasurer Peter (no relation to Elvis) Costello. At least he's healthy, unlike some Australian singers (or singers in Australia).